Seniors have several different types of care options available as they age, however, the majority would prefer to stay in their homes rather than seek out care in a facility. Of seniors ages 50-64 polled in an AARP survey, 71% indicated they would prefer to age at home, and 87% of seniors in the 65 and up age bracket agreed. Florida is known for its retirement and health care options, and the resources available for in-home care are no exception. In many cases, seniors are able to stay at home and live comfortably for less than what it would cost on average for nursing home care.
Over 30 in-home care providers do business with seniors in the greater Orlando area.
Nationwide, nearly 800,000 people were employed to give home health aide services in 2014, and almost 26,000 of those workers provided care in the state of Florida.
Home health aides in Florida earned an average salary of $22,920 annually in 2014.
Seniors in the Orlando area paid a median of $133 per day for homemaker services in 2015. Genworth calculates annual rates based on a 44-hour work-week over 52 weeks, making the total cost of care per year for homemaker services a total of $42,328.
Homemaker services are designed to provide seniors with assistance around the house with any number of tasks including help with grocery shopping, cooking meals, transportation to medical appointments, pick-up prescriptions, light housekeeping, and help with chores such as laundry. Other assistance may be provided for tasks like:
Grooming and dressing
Answering correspondence or paying bills
Maintaining household plants or light pet care
Corresponding with loved ones about your health and well-being
Homemaker services can provide companionship for seniors during the day, and help with tasks that may be difficult for the senior. These services are a good fit for seniors who are able to manage their own daily medical needs.
In Orlando, the daily cost of home health aide care is just a bit higher than that of homemaker services at $116 per day. Compared to the daily average rate of nursing home care at $243 for a semi-private room, seniors who are able to access in-home health aide services could save upwards of $46,000 per year on care costs.
The services provided by home health aides are similar in many ways to the homemaker services we listed above, but with some additional services that have medical aspects to them as well. Help with blood pressure checks, pulse checks, or working with your major medical devices like wheelchairs will be provided by home health aide staff.
Having a safe, and if needed supervised environment, is one of the keys to aging at home. Care providers will help you determine the right in-home care schedule to meet your needs. It can include one or a combination of the following options:
Respite care can help when your normal caregiver may need time away from their responsibilities for a few hours or a few days.
Part-time care is available to you should you need help for a few hours out of the day, or just a few days per week.
Full-time care provides 40 hours of care per week and is a good option for the traditional workday when your family may not be home to help.
Live-in care gives you access to help 24 hours a day and is usually administered by two or more caregivers, one for daytime and one for overnight hours.
When hiring an in-home caregiver, the first step is to determine if you would like to use agency provided services or if you will be hiring the caregiver yourself. If you work through an agency, they will match a caregiver with your needs and manage the employee related tasks like payroll, taxes, insurance, and scheduling.
Hiring directly is a good option if you want to pay a loved one to give you care, or if you want to be hands-on with hiring the actual individual who will be providing the care. Keep in mind, if you chose to directly contract a caregiver you are then their employer and will be responsible for the business duties that come with having an employee.
It can be helpful to do additional research on the care providers in your area, like listening to recommendations passed by word of mouth, or visiting online websites with reviews posted like the Better Business Bureau of Central Florida.
There are many avenues you can explore to help you pay for your care. Seniors with long-term insurance coverage may be eligible to have their care paid for by their policy benefits if they have a doctor verify a condition that would require assistance in-home. There are funding options that low-income seniors can apply for, including Medicaid or the VA Aid & Attendance pension for those who served active duty during a wartime and their widows.
Seniors with assets like a home or life insurance policy can consider options like a reverse mortgage or withdrawing the cash value from the insurance policy to access funds to pay for their care. With these two options, there are a number of factors to consider including implications to your annual taxes and your overall estate, so work with a professional in the tax, financial, or estate industry that you trust before making the decision if either of these options are right for you.
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